The 1989 schedule was ranked No. 1 in the nation. We played only 5 home games and 8 away/neutral, including the Kickoff Classic and Orange Bowl.
The only reason we played Rice in 1988, and the only reason SMU was so wretched in 1989, was SMU's death penalty. Originally, we were supposed to play SMU at Texas Stadium in 1988, and they were a powerful team when those games were scheduled. ND offered to cancel the 1989 SMU game, but SMU (perhaps desirous of a big payday) opted to stick to the contractual commitment.
Other than those games, the only true weakling we played in 1988 and 1989 was Navy. Air Force slumped to 5-7 in 1988 but went to the 1989 Liberty Bowl and was a bowl team most years in that era. Purdue was a Big Ten bottom-dweller but can hardly be compared to any FCS team. The same is true of Stanford in the Pac-10 at that time. Pitt was above .500 both years and beat A&M in the 1989 Sun Bowl.
For you to even insinuate that Heisler's horrid comment today is somehow consistent with our scheduling philosophy in the late 1980s is patently absurd.